Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2)” as Want to Read:
The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Pale Horseman

(The Last Kingdom #2)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  39,172 ratings  ·  1,607 reviews
The second installment of Bernard Cornwell’s New York Times bestselling series chronicling the epic saga of the making of England, “like Game of Thrones, but real” (The Observer, London)—the basis for The Last Kingdom, the hit television series.

This is the exciting—yet little known—story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Harper Paperbacks (first published October 3rd 2005)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Pale Horseman, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
João Hi Beverlee!! I'm Brazilian. We speak brazilian portuguese. O Cavaleiro da Morte is a brazilian portuguese translation of Bernanrd Cornwell's Pale Rid…moreHi Beverlee!! I'm Brazilian. We speak brazilian portuguese. O Cavaleiro da Morte is a brazilian portuguese translation of Bernanrd Cornwell's Pale Rider. I'm sure you can easily find it in USA.

Best Regards.(less)
Bill I agree with Troy. Uhtred's story is a long one. In order to understand his complex upbringing and conflicting loyalties, I would begin with The Last …moreI agree with Troy. Uhtred's story is a long one. In order to understand his complex upbringing and conflicting loyalties, I would begin with The Last Kingdom. Both books are very well-written and informative about the period. If you haven't seen the series on Netflix, I would definitely recommend reading the books first, then viewing the series, which is also quite good. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  39,172 ratings  ·  1,607 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2)
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ahhhhh Uhtred you are quite the lad .........

Uhtred of Bebbanburg, Lord of Northumbria is as headstrong, arrogant, and fearless as ever. Now married with a child at the age of 21, he rode into battle to Cynuit and slaughtered the Danish leader, Ubba Lothbrokson. Fully expecting recognition for the deed upon his return to King Alfred, Uhtred meets the inexorable fate he always believed in. The pompous, self-important, Odda the Younger took the credit for the slaying, and no one, not even King A

Sean Barrs
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Pale Horseman is every bit as good as the first book. This, again, feels like another chapter of a man’s life. Uhtred has grown up a little and is more resolute in his ambitions since we last saw him. He has fought in his first shield wall and has completed the transformation from boy to man: he is now a proven warrior and, more importantly, he now has a growing reputation but, not necessarily a good one.

His glory has been stolen by the coward Odda the Younger. He has claimed the victory at
Em Lost In Books
"There comes a moment in life when we see ourselves as others see us. I suppose that is part of growing up, and it is not always comfortable."

I read The Last Kingdom in 2015, while a book it didn't like enough to continue the series. Fast forward 2017, I started watching Vikings and I liked it very much, that in turn made me come back to this series. While the History's Viking has a different plot than this but the theme of Danes' invasion of England is where both match. I am very happy tha
James T
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Pale Horseman is the excellent continuation of Uhtred of Bebbanburg's story. Set between 876 - 878 AD, Uhtred is now in his early 20's, having proven himself as a man and a warrior. He's fought in a shield wall, killed Ubba in one on one combat, and has sworn an oath to the Saxon king Alfred. Uhtred believes life revolves around fighting, women, ale, and creating a reputation. Uhtred has a reputation now, but it is not always glowing as he is as misunderstood as he is feared. He's a complex ...more
"For here starts war, carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl."

A fragile peace still holds in the realms of Britain. After the forces of Wessex prevailed at Cynuit, the Danes have pulled back. King Alfred thinks himself safe, but in truth the last kingdom of the Saxons is in grave peril...

Writing a sequel to an amazing novel can sometimes be amazingly hard. Bernard Cornwell fulfilled that task with style, and in the process created my personal favourite Uhtred novel and proved himself a master
Scott  Hitchcock
This one took a lot longer to get going than book one but the second half and the ending were very good. The religious overtones to everything Alfred does makes me want to root for the Danes as does the corruption of many of the priests.
Dana Ilie
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book
I promise to review as soon as possible
Oh Bernard, how do you do what you do?
If I could write like this man, well, I'd be one very happy chick. And I do not want to write like this to make money, or make fans, or make myself famous, I just want to have this skill for myself, to know that I can do it, to know that I can create magic on paper, although, Bernard Cornwell, in this series at least, is more than merely skilled, he is an absolute master.
Would it be presumptuous of me to say that I think that he is a writer's writer? or mo
THE PALE HORSEMEN is the second book in the Cornwell series focusing on England before it was England. Unlike the first book, there's less fighting and more political maneuvering and focus on relationships.

HISTORY: at this time England was something of a bunch of Saxon Kingdoms. Seven, if memory serves. The Saxons had actually taken most of the Kingdom from the Britons & Welsh and had held a good chunk for several hundred years. Now, it's the late 800s and the Danes are seriously beating the Sa
Athena Shardbearer

I can't even......


"And I looked," Pyrlig said to me, "and I saw a pale horse, and the rider's name was death,"

You like Viking?
You like badasses like my boyfriends, Uhtred??
You want a GOOD STORY????? THEN READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!

Also, I think its safe to say that buying all the books in the series before finishing the first one was a wise choice...

Jason Koivu
Nov 22, 2008 rated it liked it
"REINVIGORATE, MAN!" I shouted, then calmly began my review.

Cornwell always does a decent job of adding in just enough historical detail, both physical and immediate, to the story as well as historic and atmospheric for the background. Then he layers on his stock, misunderstood hero regardless of time or place and serves up another entertaining action/adventure story. Hard to argue with a winning recipe, other than the argument that the palette desires something new sooner or later, and that th
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: begonnene-reihen
Destiny is all..
Executive Summary: Another enjoyable Historical Fiction book that I probably would have liked a bit better if I hadn't already known what was coming from watching the TV show. I'm really looking forward to book three now.

Full Review
In retrospect I wish I had read this book before watching The Last Kingdom. I had no idea that a 10 episode season would cover two books. That's partly because they glossed over half of the first book, and partly because they cut a lot of detail out.

I had been hop
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set between 876 - 878 AD, the Second Saxon Stories novel follows Uhtred’s life in he’s early twenties.
I really liked how the book covered a much shorter timespan than the previous volume, I felt that I got to know Uhtred more as a character.

This series is getting better and better!
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A worthy follow up to its predecessor. Bernard Cornwell, apart from having a talent for writing epic duels and battles, is also proving to be a great story teller. I loved all the new characters he added and enjoyed revisiting the old ones, including the Danes.

Uhtred's arc was fun. Mainly because he's becoming a great warrior and we get to see him build his reputation. Proud and arrogant, fearless and unpredictable and thus respected and feared. But now he is also growing into a leader and a
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Pale Horseman gets a solid 4 stars. BC is a very good writer but I’m not feeling like he is stretching himself here. Not that his writing is flawed, no way. I could not put this book down and just raced through it. I thought his battle scenes were as bloody and chaotic and good as ever. His characters were likeable or despicable and you do care about them. But it seemed too much of a template to get 5 stars. His main character, Uhtred, is a young rebellious youth, much like the main protagon ...more
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful second novel in The Saxon Stories series. The young English nobleman Uhtred, captured and raised by the Danes, is called upon by King Alfred to save his kingdom from the Danes. King Alfred is just learning about human nature, and does not recognize when his enemies are being deceptive. But he is smart, and he learns from his mistakes.

Uhtred is a warrior, and he is very good. He revels in his fight. He yearns for battle, with incredible enthusiasm. But he is still young and so
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a brutal read. I love historical fiction when it gets real like this. The characters were vivid and realistic. The author understands the era and how to bring us into it.
All of the basic themes are present, betrayal, revenge, cruelty, heroism etc. The story never really slows down- it's pace is consistent with a building sensation towards the end. This was a good, brutal read. So far this series is a go-to consistently good read that I will return to from time to time.
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This isn't just a war over land, it's a war about God. And Christ's servant...

The shield wall is a terrible place. It is where a warrior makes his reputation, and reputation is dear to us.

Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell is the 2nd book in the Saxon Stories series. It is narrated by Jonathon Keeble. This installment picks up right where the first book left off.

If you haven’t read the first book, turn back now. SPOILERS AHEAD!

The first book ends with the Battle of Cynuit, where Uhtred defeats Ubba. However, he has a choice, to go straight to Alfred to announce the victory or find his wife and son. He chooses to find his wife and son. This decision has a domino effect on the k
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Wow! That last 50 pages or so were awesome...That's just an estimate, since I listened to the audio and didn't have the page count right in front of me.

After several disappointing endings in books lately, this was refreshing. The finish actually brought my rating up, instead of the opposite as some have done recently.

I've long heard that Bernard Cornwell is the best at describing battles. If I wasn't convinced already, I am now.
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just wanted to take the time to mention just how much I'm enjoying this series to date and to thank all the readers who have recommended this series to me over the years.....Loving this stirring series of a bygone era. Well crafted with a wonderful hero in Uhtred, and a superb cast of supporting characters. Time and money well spent.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a fun series this is turning out to be. I read the first book in this series and then proceeded to binge watch every single episode of the TV version on Netflix in less than one day. From having already seen the episodes this book covers, I knew what was going to happen. It was a pleasant surprise that this wasn't exactly the TV version. So there were new elements.

I loved the MC. He was a strong POV and it comes through in vivid and rich way. What's not to love? I have the next one in the s
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uhtred the warrior lord must decide whether to help the Saxon King Alfred to defend the kingdom of Wessex against the invading Danes.

An entertaining adventure, full of action and leading to a spectacular battle scene, this was a gripping read. The time and place are brilliantly evoked, conveying what it was like to live in 9th century Wessex, as different tribes fought for supremacy, and Christianity took on the pagan gods.

The main problem for me is that Uhtred is a bit of a cartoon character.
I have read all the books so far in Cornwell’s Saxon series, and this is my favorite book so far. Of course, since I loved “The Last Kingdom” so much, I almost couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, and then read it in two days.

What can I say; I just adore mean old Uhtred, despite his flaws and his sometimes unethical behavior. I do believe one of Cornwell's flaws is he doesn’t write the best female characters, but I find his male characters so interesting and fun, it doesn’t bother me much.

I th
This is the second of the series but you can read it standing alone and it still makes a complete story because the events in this book are of vital importance in the life of Alfred The Great. In fact, these are the events that made him what he is. There is enough adventure, betrayal, oaths, and loyalty that was the seal of the people of that time and the constant struggle of the priests, bishops and church to gather riches and people to them while influencing the King and rulers! Full review yo ...more
Man, I love the Adventures of Uhtred And His Poor Decisions! This one really makes Alfred come off like an asshole, and a very disloyal one. No matter what Uhtred does, literally giving up lives and risking his own to restore Alfred to the throne, one whisper of "He's a PAGAN!" in Alfred's ear sends Alfred through the roof.

Note: The reader for this reads everything in a super gruff voice that at times seems almost painful. I both enjoyed it and found it slightly comical.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, fiction
"One more defeat and there would probably never have been a political entity called England. We might have had a Daneland instead, and this novel would probably have been written in Danish."

That was actually a quote from the authors "historical note" listed at the books end.

 photo 50AAFF22-BE26-4039-B522-A8972B00DC1F_zpsoxva9obw.jpg

I'm always nervous to read a second book in a series as I'm usually always disappointed. But, I loved book one so much and wanted to continue with Uthreds story. I happy to report that book 2 was all and more then I
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book every bit as much as I enjoyed the first one. This series has quickly become one of my favorites, as has the author. 

At the risk of giving away any of the plot, I'll keep this short. Uhtred & his companions have become so dear to me, it's like I have no choice but to continue their story, so I know I'm going to keep reading this series. 

I think what does it for me is Cornwell's writing. His writing flows so well that the pages flew by, and I wasn't even aware that I was readi
Karen  ⚜Mess⚜
I was an arrogant brute. Still am.
Confession: I love Uhtred. I love this world. I'm addicted to the brutality and the passion. I get a rush from the blood and fighting.

Image result for battle the last kingdom gif

Cornwell knows how to deliver an exceptional story, told with passion and knowledge. Most imporantly, those insults rocked!

My reading goals for the year 2020 was to read more Epic Fantasy novels. Although, this is an Historical Fiction, I feel it's fitting the bill quite nicely.

The White Horse of Westbury. Possibly

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect cover image 2 13 Sep 06, 2018 05:06AM  
Michael Palance 1 9 Aug 16, 2017 07:02PM  
The Not a Book Cl...: TPH: Section 3 - Chapters 9-13 (Full Spoilers) 18 19 Dec 23, 2016 04:59PM  
The Not a Book Cl...: TPH: Section 2 - Chapters 5-8 12 15 Dec 20, 2016 04:56AM  
The Not a Book Cl...: TPH: Section 1 - Chapters 1-4 10 24 Dec 16, 2016 07:03PM  
The Not a Book Cl...: TPH: General Discussion (No Spoilers) 13 20 Jan 12, 2016 08:17AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Genghis: Birth of an Empire (Conqueror, #1)
  • Genghis: Lords of the Bow (Conqueror, #2)
  • Bones of the Hills (Conqueror, #3)
  • Blood Eye (Raven #1)
  • The Field of Swords (Emperor, #3)
  • Under the Eagle (Eagle #1)
  • Stormbird (Wars of the Roses, #1)
  • The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1)
  • Conqueror (Conqueror, #5)
  • The Peninsular War: A New History
  • Khan: Empire of Silver (Conqueror, #4)
  • Æthelstan: The First King of England
  • Odin's Wolves (Raven, #3)
  • The Gods of War (Emperor, #4)
  • Calul balan
  • The Whale Road (Oathsworn, #1)
  • God of Vengeance (The Rise of Sigurd, #1)
  • The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5)
See similar books…
Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother, who was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his birth mother's maiden n ...more

Other books in the series

The Last Kingdom (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1)
  • Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3)
  • Sword Song (The Saxon Stories, #4)
  • The Burning Land (The Saxon Stories, #5)
  • Death of Kings (The Saxon Stories, #6)
  • The Pagan Lord (The Saxon Stories, #7)
  • The Empty Throne (The Saxon Stories, #8)
  • Warriors of the Storm (The Saxon Stories, #9)
  • The Flame Bearer (The Saxon Stories, #10)
  • War of the Wolf (The Saxon Stories, #11)

Related Articles

The must-read summer beach book is a kind of American tradition. The crash of the waves. The glare of the sun. The sand in the pages. Is t...
47 likes · 20 comments
“Life is simple," I said. "Ale, women, sword, and reputation. Nothing else matters.” 27 likes
“There is such joy in chaos. Stow all the world's evils behind a door and tell men that they must never, ever, open the door, and it will be opened because there is pure joy in destruction.” 27 likes
More quotes…